Yesterday saw the first set of fixtures in the 2017 K-League season and it was victories for Ulsan, Gwangju and Gangwon as the results ran pretty much to form with the main talking point probably being a brace for Lee Keun Ho as Gangwon put the Army to the sword. Today we have the first Supermatch and Jeolla derbies of the year.
FC Seoul vs. Suwon Bluewings @ 3pm
The season beings with the Korean version of the Charity Shield as the league and FA cup winners clash, the fact that this season its the “Super Match” adds a little more spice to opening week. Seoul suffered a rather embarrassing defeat during the week in the Asian Champions League losing 5-2 to Urawa Reds in Japan. The defeat reinforced many’s opinion that goalkeeper Yoo Hyun is a liability between the sticks, it also showed a lack of guile in the middle of the pitch. Suwon Bluewings were a little more impressive as they fought to a 2-2 against Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande. They weren’t exactly on fire in that match but they look so much better than the team which struggled for most of last season, and could be in the title picture this season. Last time out it was Suwon who emerged as victors winning over 2 legs in the FA Cup final on penalties.
Prediction: Away Win : Seoul 0 – Suwon 1
Incheon United vs. Jeju United @ 3pm
The second game of the day features a match which on paper should be a rather one-sided affair as high-flying Jeju come to Incheon. Incheon had a poor 2016 season, narrowly avoiding relegation in the last week. They have changed things up and their squad looks like it might be a little more competitive than last year although the loss of Kevin Oris could hit them hard as he was often the difference in 2016. However Jeju United looked very impressive during the week in the ACL easily beating Japanese side Gamba Osaka 4-1. That match will either have them on fire or might just have drained them a little. The sides have an even head-to-head record and Incheon are generally strong at home, whereas Jeju tend to be a little erratic on their travels. .
Prediction: Away Win : Incheon 0 – Jeju 2
Jeonbuk Hyundai vs. Jeonnam Dragons @ 3pm
The final Classic game of the opening weekend is the Jeolla Derby as Jeonbuk welcome Jeonnam to town in what is always a hotly anticipated clash. . Jeonbuk had a less than smooth 2016 having lost the title on the last week of the season after their points deduction. They went on to win the ACL but were then denied the opportunity to defend the crown after being kicked out at the last minute. They have a strong squad but have seen some key figures leave without replacements being brought in. Jeonnam were impressive last season and are more than capable of pulling off a shock in their day. The game will take in unfamiliar surroundings at the Jeonju Civil Stadium as the World Cup Stadium is being used for the U20 World Cup.
Prediction: Home Win : Jeonbuk 2 – Jeonnam 1